Jordan´s king blames Israel for deadlocked peace (AP) Associated Press) By JAMAL HALABY and JOSEF FEDERMAN AMMAN 02/21/12 4:46 pm ET)
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AMMAN, Jordan – King Abdullah II on Tuesday blamed Israel for
deadlocked Mideast peacemaking in a meeting with U.S. Jewish leaders,
the official Petra News Agency said.
But the king´s guests offered a more optimistic version of events,
saying Abdullah had also been complimentary of Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu´s position in recent peace talks.
Jordan last month played host to talks that have subsequently been
broken off. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have blamed the other
for the cut-off.
Petra said Abdullah was specifically concerned over
Israel´s "unilateral policies." It said that included changing the
identity of the traditionally Arab sector in East Jerusalem and
tampering with Muslim holy shrines there.
It said Abdullah´s remarks came in a meeting Tuesday with
representatives of the New York-based Conference of Presidents of
Major Jewish American Organizations — a central coordinating body for
American Jewry, representing 52 national Jewish agencies.
Delegation leader Malcolm Hoenlein, speaking after the meeting,
acknowledged the king´s concerns about unilateral Israeli action,
particularly in east Jerusalem.
But he also said Abdullah had in fact been complimentary of
Netanyahu´s peace efforts and had even asked him to convey a message
of thanks for Israel´s proposals in the latest round of peace talks.
"He praised Netanyahu and asked that we specifically at the end to
please give a message to ´my friend´ that I appreciate his taking
risks by putting forth the package that he did ... a package that he
knew was difficult to do, but he created a climate to enable the
process to move forward and for negotiations to take place," Hoenlein
The talks, hosted by Jordan, began last month, but were soon cut off
with the Palestinians complaining that Israel´s offers were
insufficient. The Palestinians are supposed to decide shortly whether
to resume the talks.
Although Israel´s position was not made public, officials have
suggested it included handing over to the Palestinians most of the
territory, but keeping large chunks that contain most of the Jewish
settlements in the area.
Critically, the offer reportedly did not include east Jerusalem,
where the Palestinians want to locate their capital. Officials say
Israel wants to maximize the number of Israelis who end up under
Israeli control, while maximizing the number of Palestinians who live
in a future Palestine.
Petra said that Abdullah also warned that failure to realize a
Mideast settlement would exacerbate tensions in a region engulfed by
uprisings that have unseated four Arab leaders — a report not
contradicted by Hoenlein.
"He said he doesn´t think that it´s over," said Hoenlein, who is the
executive vice chairman of the Jewish umbrella group. "He also
explained why it would be critical given all the developments in the
region and that Israelis and Arabs are moving closer together a
common agenda on the threat from Iran." ____Federman reported from
Jerusalem. (© 2012 The Associated Press 02/21/12)
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